Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Odd Moments: One-night stand.

Getting back to T.R. Sullivan's list of odd and bizarre moments in Rangers history. Since today's moment was so brief I don't have a card of the involved person. As such you will have to settle for the cover of the 1977 media guide.

In June of 1977 the Rangers fired manager Frank Lucchesi. The firing was in part due to an altercation that Lucchesi had with Len Randle in Spring Training. To replace Lucchesi Texas tabbed Eddie Stanky.

Stanky looked like a good grab. He had played eleven seasons in the majors between 1943 and 1953. Starting at the end of his playing career he had moved into managing. In 1952 and 1953 he had been a player/manager for the St. Louis Cardinals. In 1954 and 1955 he was the manager for the Redbirds. In 1966 the White Sox had named Eddie as skipper. They kept him until 1968. During those two stints Stanky had posted a 466-435 record as manager.

Following his time at the helm of the Cardinals and ChiSox, Stankey became the head basketball coach at the University of South Alabama. He encountered success there as well. As Leo Durocher once observed, Eddie Stanky knew how to win.

A winner was what Texas needed. The team was in internal disarray but was still contending when Stankey took over. They were in third place in the American League West and just four games out. Stanky would face Gene Mauch and the second place Twins for his first game.

The Rangers were on the road in Minnesota on June 22nd. In the bottom of the first inning the Twins scored four runs to take a significant lead. Texas would score a lone run in the third but otherwise was shut out until the seventh. In the top of the seventh Texas put together a four run inning to take a one run lead. Minnesota would score a run in the bottom of the frame to even things up.

The tie would only last until the top of the eighth when the Rangers managed to keep the scoring train going as they posted five more runs. That would be enough to hold even with the Twins three run rally in the bottom of the ninth. Final score: 10-8 Texas.

A comeback win against a division opponent seemed to be a good start to Eddie Stanky's managing career with Texas. Here's where things got weird though. Following the game Stanky announced that he was resigning as the Rangers manager. Apparently he missed Alabama and collegiate basketball. He returned to the University of South Alabama and basketball success. After just one game Stanky was finished as the Rangers manager.

Unprepared for the resignation, Texas named coach Connie Ryan as interim manager. He would last six games before Billy Hunter took over and finished out the season as the team's fourth manager of 1977.

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